Written by Eric Becker
The Corvette is emblematic of the timeless Motor City aesthetic, a distinctly American design that looks at home cruising down either Main Street or Wall Street. The second-generation Corvette, the Sting Ray, would change the way people viewed this all-American sports car. The lines penned half a lifetime ago by the Corvette’s skunkworks design team – Pete Brock, Larry Shinoda and Bill Mitchell – still resonate today, the shark-like proportions letting other motorists know the Corvette is a predator.
Master Corvette Builder Jeff Hayes is no stranger to re-interpreting American performance icons in his own way. Having built numerous award-winning custom Corvettes over the past decade, Hayes is known for revisiting the classic design and updating it with a modern context, taking an icon of the 20th century into the 21st.
Drop the black Haartz top on this 1966 Convertible ’Vette – Lot #177 in the Barrett-Jackson Online Only July 2020 Auction – and the predatory instincts come alive, pinning the driver to the back of the seat with 540 horsepower, a howl and a cackle. Under the long swooping hood sits a GM Hot Cam LS3 crate engine sending power through a 4L70E 4-speed overdrive transmission. If you can wrest yourself from the French-stitched red saddle leather seats and gaze over that long Stinger hood, center your eyes in the deep valley created by the high peaks of those front fenders. The sights and sounds match the unmistakable feel of a ’66 ’Vette, but the forward thrust and lateral grip is something only the modern era could provide.
Underneath, a Coffman chassis keeps the car glued to the road and allows form to follow function with a muscular stance. Mounted to the chassis are brake components from a modern Corvette Z06, along with front suspension from a C5 Corvette and rear suspension from a C6 Corvette. The car rides on 18-inch chrome C7 Z06 wheels up front and wide 20-inch wheels in the rear. Keeping with the period-correct aesthetic, the wheels are clad in Toyo Proxes 4 Plus red line tires.
Inside, the C2 Corvette’s iconic dashboard cowls accentuate the leather trim with inlays of carbon-fiber surround the Vintage Air climate control switchgear and AutoMeter gauge cluster. A carbon-fiber center console highlights a polished Lokar shifter. The driver takes control via a color-keyed Billet Specialties steering wheel. Rounding off the ’66 convertible is a silver/gray metallic finish topped off with five coats of clear. Finished in April 2019, the convertible’s on-road presence is striking.
Barrett-Jackson is delighted to present this iconic Corvette reborn as Lot #177 for the July Online Auction. Epitomizing the Resto-Mod/Pro-Touring ethos, this ferocious 1966 Corvette convertible is hungry for new roads.